At the 2016 Stars of Life Banquet Tuesday evening, at the Washington Court Hotel, the American Ambulance Association recognized Representative Devin Nunes, (CA) as the AAA Legislator of the Year for his ongoing support of ambulance reimbursement and other important ambulance industry policy issues.
Representative Nunes has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003 and represents California’s 22nd Congressional District, which is located in the San Joaquin Valley and includes portions of Tulare and Fresno Counties.
He also Chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, having previously served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.
Nunes has championed efforts on Medicare ambulance reform such as ensuring rural zip codes are properly categorized as such for Medicare ambulance reimbursement. This is an important issue, particularly to rural ambulance services because, if the wrong zip code is aligned with their service area which has a limited population base, they will not receive the proper, adjusted reimbursement that takes their limited population into account.
In addition, Representative Nunes has been the lead sponsor of the Fairness in Ambulance Reimbursement Act and a primary sponsor of the Medicare Ambulance Access, Fraud Prevention and Reform Act.
Paul Main of American Ambulance of Visalia met with Representative Nunes during congressional visits on the hill by the 2016 EMS Stars of Life, accompanying Stars of Life recipient Richard A. Buckles, Jr., a Senior EMT/Field Training Officer with American Ambulance of Visalia during his visit to the Hill. (See brief profile of Buckles at the end of this article)
During the visit to Representatives office, Main said that Congressman Nunes has long supported critically important issues for emergency medical services.
Representative Devin Nunes with Paul Main on Capitol Hill
Rep. Devin Nunes (CA) and California Star of Life recipient Richard A. Buckles, Jr. of American Ambulance of Visalia
More about Representative Nunes
Nunes was born in Tulare, California. His family is of Portuguese descent, having emigrated from the Azores to California. From childhood, he worked on a farm that his family has operated in Tulare County for three generations. He raised cattle as a teenager, used his savings to begin a harvesting business, and then bought his own farmland with his brother.
Nunes graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a master’s degree in agriculture. He was first elected to public office as one of California’s youngest community college trustees in state history at the age of 23. As a member of the College of the Sequoias Board from 1996 to 2002, he was an advocate for distance learning and the expansion of programs available to high school students.
In 2001, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as California State Director for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development section. He left this post to run for California’s 21st congressional district and now serves in the 22nd district as a result of redistricting in 2010.
Committee Assignment History
Nunes was appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 112th Congress and became its chairman in the 114th Congress. He was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee in the 109th Congress and currently serves as a member of the Trade and Health Subcommittees, having served as Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee in the 113th Congress.
He previously served as a member of the House Budget Committee during the 111th Congress. In the 108th Congress, his first term in the House of Representatives, he served on the House Resources Committee, where he was chairman of the National Parks Subcommittee, and on the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs committees.
Federal Spending, Healthcare, and State Pensions
On July 22, 2008, Nunes became an original cosponsor of A Roadmap for America’s Future (H.R. 6110), sponsored by Paul Ryan (R-WI). The bill proposes major reforms of the U.S. health care system, entitlement programs, the federal tax code, job training, and the budget process. The Roadmap offers permanent solutions to our nation’s budget challenges by revamping Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and providing for their long-term financial solvency. It is in this area where Representative Nunes is championing for issue of importance to the EMS industry regarding CMS and fair and proper Medicare reimbursement.
On December 2, 2010, Nunes introduced the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (H.R. 6484). The bill enhances transparency for state and local pensions, and would establish a clear federal prohibition on any future public pension bailouts by the federal government.
About Richard A. Buckles, Jr., Senior EMT/Field Training Officer, American Ambulance of Visalia (CA)
Richard Allan Buckles, Jr. was born and raised in Visalia, California. He aspired to do something in public safety, went to an EMT class at a local college, and in 2003, started working as an EMT. He also spent time as a volunteer firefighter with the Tulare County Fire Department. In 2005, Buckles started work with American Ambulance and began to excel in EMS.
Buckles has been involved in various programs within the company, taken on restocking, ordering, and even leading the process for the annual California Highway Patrol ambulance inspection.
In 2016, he reached out to help with one of American Ambulance’s initiatives for senior citizens, Heart of Seniors, a program to promote cardiac health in women. As a part of that effort, in 2106, Richard and several other paramedics from American Ambulance served as volunteer “escorts” for the ladies attending the event at the local senior center. This program is growing and becoming popular in the senior community served by American Ambulance.